The Coffins ‘Bob’s Shed’ (Newtown Products)
There’s something strange brewing in the subterranean venues of Glasgow.
Imagine a dark, thunderous night. The sky is slashed with lightning and the rain is coming down like worlds end.
It’s Glasgow in the ’60s.
A drunken, one-eyed midwife stands atop the hill in the infamous Victorian Necropolis cemetery with a broken bottle as her only instrument; the expectant mother is half human, half God-knows-what; as the blood runs from her hands and stains the broken cobblestones, a cry breaks the night. The infant is no normal baby. The child lying atop the broken crypt is called Joe Bone and he’s from another place.
He’s from Hell.
In a city awash with bland bands and instantly interchangeable singer/songwriters, there’s a new sheriff in town and Joe and his band of deputies are called The Coffins.
Taking their cues from the dank, dirty city that birthed them, The Coffins don’t play nice. They don’t kowtow to anything as remote as trying to please people. They play filthy, alcohol-streaked rock and roll and they don’t, genuinely, give a fuck.
‘Bob’s Shed’ sees them taking their back-to-basic punk blaze and twisting it through a metal-surf-garage-rockabilly mincer; guitar player Bil Gilchrist takes his fuzz-toned power chording and surf-riffs to a whole new level on this, their first “proper” album.
‘Bury Me’ opens the album and is a Coffins statement of intent; Gilchrist’s wired guitar, Bone’s Alex Harvey-esque baritone lead the way. Wildman bassist Michael Werninck and cool-as-cucumber drummer Graham Platt lay down a granite-solid base that leaves the competition in their rear view mirror.
‘Garbage Ma’n continues the trend. Bone’s lyric about the titular refuse collector who takes lives as well as bins away is fun and sinister at the same time. The bands taught, driving rhythm suit the song perfectly.
A slight detour in direction takes The Coffins into ‘Internet Police’, a filmic, almost instrumental with some sweet wah-wah guitar from Gilchrist. Bone’s voice is warped through a bullhorn effect and his lyrics of surveillance and Orwellian times have a genuine paranoia to them.
The central song on the album is ‘Bible John’, a live favourite that sees Mr Bone tearing pages from an Old Testament. The song, about the as-yet-still-at-large 60’s serial killer who terrorised the dancehalls of the city is a slower-paced, but no less intense rocker. When Bone takes on the killers persona, whispering “You dancin’? I’m askin’”, it’s a truly chilling moment.
Despite the record being recorded at the start of the year, The Coffins have clearly a bit of foresight; the album closer is ‘Maggie’s Dead’.
Violence, style, alcohol and a darkly humorous attitude inform The Coffins. Just a wee bit like the city they come from.